Creating a Parenting Plan for Your Newborn
You can write up your own parenting plan (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional to create it. You can avoid the high cost of an attorney and make your own agreement by using the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates parenting plans. You make each part of your agreement, then print professional documents of your plan.
A parenting plan is important because it outlines the best ways for both parents to properly bond with a newborn and puts the baby's needs ahead of anyone else. A newborn's basic requirements for sleeping, eating and bonding are more strict than with older children, requiring special consideration.
Newborns are babies between 0 and 3 months old. While every newborn is different, experts agree that babies thrive when they have a predictable routine that provides plenty of sleep, familiar food, opportunities to bond with caregivers and consistent surroundings. Your parenting plan formalizes how these elements will work together in your newborn's life.
When you and the other parent put together a parenting plan for your newborn, remember that the parenting plan can change as the child grows, so focus on the newborn's needs in the immediate future.
Because putting a parenting plan together can be difficult, many parents turn to easy-to-use software like Custody X Change, a comprehensive software designed specifically for separated parents.
When routines are disrupted, it can cause stress in newborns, so a detailed schedule is the best way to keep both parents on the same page. A steady routine and consistent care leads to healthy and normal development in babies.
Caregivers should provide reliable care and quality time so the newborn develops bonds of trust. Infants quickly learn to recognize familiar sounds and smells, as well as familiar faces, such as those of their parents or siblings. A detailed schedule gives both of you an opportunity to provide crucial caregiver tasks for your newborn at the appropriate times he or she needs them.
Disruptions in your newborn's life can trigger anxiety and irritability, and affect healthy emotional development. A poor schedule leads to missed visits, overlapping times and frustration for parents. Detailed schedules keep transitions smooth and ensure that both parents enjoy maximum parenting time at key moments.
Making a comprehensive parenting plan for your newborn may take some time up front, but it's worth it when your baby develops a healthy sense of security and trust with each parent.
A parenting plan for a newborn should cover everything the baby needs for proper physical and mental health, including a visitation schedule. A good parenting plan for newborns allows both of you plenty of time to care for your newborn without disrupting the child's routine too much.
Create a calendar that revolves around the needs of your newborn that covers:
- All feeding times, approximately every 2 to 4 hours
- Any sleeping time, usually several naps per day and several long periods at night
- Alert time, when the infant is awake and interactive for longer stretches
- Doctor visits, generally routine check-ups every 2 to 4 weeks for 6 months
- Child care pick-up and drop-off, if applicable
Because newborns develop strong attachments to the people who care for them, both parents should be allowed time to change diapers, give baths, cuddle, feed and put the baby to bed. Short, frequent visits in the primary caregiver's home are an appropriate way to begin this bonding. Your parenting plan can specify when and where such interaction takes place for both parents.
Custody X Change enables you to schedule all aspects of co-parenting a newborn. Coordinating feeding times, pick-up and drop-off times, and nap times will be much easier when you both have an single source about what's happening in your child's life, and you can work together to minimize disruptions.
You can create a parenting plan that addresses not just your own personal philosophies on parenting, but also your newborn's unique habits. As long as both of you agree it is in the best interest of the child, you and the other parent can be as detailed as you want.
For example, you both may agree that breast feeding is particularly important for your newborn, so create a detailed parenting plant that schedules visits between feedings and plans for bottled breast milk during longer visits.
If your newborn is particularly alert and awake in the early evening, structure your parenting plan so both of you have the chance to interact with the baby at that time. Your parenting plan can also include anything unique that you and the other parent agree upon, from playing classical music at nap time to keeping the baby away from secondhand smoke.
Custody X Change can assist you in creating a detailed parenting plan that can be tailored to include exactly what you want for your baby.
Keep track of how well your parenting plan is working by maintaining a daily parenting journal. Newborns change rapidly from month to month and it's critical for parents to keep each other informed of any new developments. Parenting journals allow you both to record information you can refer to.
Examples of things that might be noteworthy to include in a parent's journal about your newborn include:
- Time of last feeding and the amount of breast milk or formula consumed
- Significant changes in appetite, such as refusing to eat or eating more than normal
- Symptoms of illnesses, such as fever, runny nose or vomiting
- Changes in mood, such as lethargy or extreme irritability
- Sudden developments, such as a rash or diarrhea
- Positive developments, such as laughing or reaching for a toy
When your newborn reaches milestones in growth and development, sit down with the other parent to revise your parenting plan. Because older babies are able to stay away from the primary caregiver longer, visitation times can slowly be lengthened. As your newborn gains more wakeful hours in the day, enhance bonding activities with both parents by making modifications to the schedule.
As parents of a newborn, you must communicate often and clearly. Incorporate Custody X Change software to keep you informed of any changes to your parenting plan as you adapt it to the needs of your growing newborn.